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AMC 2018 Top 10

Danette Amstein

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At Annual Meat Conference (AMC) 2018, digital dominated. How today’s meat consumers are using digital to plan, purchase and prepare meals was the unifying theme that coursed through nearly every session. As always, the Midan team was on the scene to sift through all the learnings and compile our annual list of top takeaways. See below for our most meaningful nuggets, with the influence of digital leading the pack.

  1. Satisfy tech-savvy customers with omnichannel
    Consumers are going to the store less and are on their phones more. (In 2018, the average person will spend 3 hours and 23 minutes a day on mobile devices.) Digital is impacting every phase of the buyer’s journey, and retail winners will be those who leverage this technology to give consumers a seamless shopping experience across channels and devices. (Maintaining Relevance: Neil Stern, Senior Partner, McMillanDoolittle LLP, Retail Trends Impacting Today’s World and Beyond)

  2. Want to sell more fresh meat? Educate your customers.
    Enhance consumer meat skills to activate this powerful formula to boost meat sales: extensive meat knowledge = greater variety purchased = preparing meat more often = greater store loyalty, spending and trips. 53% of shoppers only know the basics or need help – that’s why upskill can add up! (Anne-Marie Roerink, 210 Analytics, The Power of Meat 2018)

  3. Transparency is about more than information
    While transparency is rationally defined as truthful information, to consumers it translates to an emotional feeling of confidence. For companies to be truly transparent in consumers’ eyes, they must be open and honest about their products and practices in a way that generates trust. (David Fikes, VP Communications & Consumer Affairs, Food Marketing Institute, A Clear Look at Transparency)

  4. The meal kit craze is hotter than ever
    Meal kit spending is growing at 3x the rate of other channels and is being driven by Gen X, who account for more than 50% of e-commerce and meal kit spending. (Laurie Rains, Group Vice President, Retail Commercial Strategy, Nielsen, Follow the Money: How and Why Consumption is Shifting Across Channels)

  5. Top drivers for meal kits are new ingredients and cooking techniques, not convenience
    Meal kits work for consumers because they do more than just solve the dinner dilemma: they help make meals at home more exciting. Home cooks can experiment with new ingredients in small amounts and learn new cooking techniques. (Kelley Bailey Fechner, Director, Customer Solutions, Datassential, Follow the Money: How and Why Consumption is Shifting Across Channels)

  6. Exports are essential to protect margins
    We heard it last year, and we heard it again this year: the importance of exports to address the coming meat surplus – beef, pork and poultry – can’t be overstated. Without focused efforts here, margins will decline. The time to determine what you can do differently to sell (or sell more) into growing export markets is yesterday. (Paul Aho, Economist, Poultry Perspective, Randy Blach, CEO, CattleFax and Steve Meyer, Economist, Kerns & Associates, Market Outlook for Meat and Poultry)

  7. Upstarts are jump-starting the meat industry
    Upstart disruptors are gaining traction in grass-fed, meal kits and other unique propositions. They are not constrained by the typical “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset and are positioning themselves to steal market share and vie for consumer loyalty. (Product Tasting Reception)

  8. Branding is more powerful than ever
    Outright brand preferences in both fresh and processed meats reached a 12-year high, with 63% of shoppers leaning toward familiar brands. Brands are also seen as offering better quality, value and consistency. Loyalty to and preferences for familiar brands will become even more critical with the continued growth of e-commerce. (Anne-Marie Roerink, 210 Analytics, The Power of Meat 2018)

  9. Sustainability is growing
    Consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of food and beverage products, particularly animal-based proteins. 37% of consumers consider whether a product is produced using sustainable methods when making purchasing decisions. (Brooke K. Bright, Sr. Data Strategy Manager, Label Insight, Understanding Emerging Trends, Ingredients and Nutrients in Processed Meats to Tell Your Best Brand Story)

  10. Tell your best brand story with digital
    Both the Beef Checkoff and the National Pork Board have tapped into digital to tell their behind-the-scenes production stories. The Beef Checkoff shared results of its digital relaunch of the iconic “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” brand, while the National Pork Board shared a live video tour of a hog operation. Leveraging digital to tell the “gate to plate” story can help consumers better connect with farmers and ranchers and attract more shoppers to your meat case. (Beef: Alisa Harrison, Sr. Vice President, Global Marketing and Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Kevin Kester, President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Connecting with Consumers Digitally through Beef Farmers and Ranchers; Pork: Sara Crawford, Assistant VP, Social Responsibility, National Pork Board, Leon Sheets, 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, and Brad Greenway, 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, The Farmer’s Perspective and Industry Transparency)

Also of note this year:

Inaugural “Women in the Meat Industry” Breakfast
More than 100 women gathered for the first-ever AMC Women’s Breakfast to discuss how to bring more women into the meat industry and mentor young women entering meat-related professions. (Women in the Meat Industry Breakfast)


About the Author

Danette is a Managing Principal based in our Mooresville office. Together with Michael Uetz, she develops and carries out the strategic direction and vision for Midan. In addition, she works closely with our meat industry clients to outline effective strategies based on their business goals, and then oversees the execution of tactics to ensure those goals are not just met, but surpassed. Danette’s lifelong love for the meat industry started on her family’s farm in Kansas, deepened during her involvement with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and state beef organizations and continues today with her passionate work for our clients. A well-respected thought leader in the meat industry, she speaks at conferences, writes social content postings, and blogs for Meatingplace. Married to Todd, she is a proud parent of a son and daughter, is a diehard Kansas State Wildcats fan, loves chocolate and still drives a combine when she goes home to Kansas for the annual wheat harvest.
Danette Amstein